Retiree pensions are not being protected
Corporations are being permitted to discard the legal rights of America's retirees and ignore federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act laws meant to protect our pensions. This is creating a dangerous and potentially devastating trend.
This summer, General Motors disposed of $26 billion of its retirees' pensions by purchasing insurance company annuities or offering others buyouts. Then in late October, Verizon announced it is forcing 41,000 of its management retirees into Prudential insurance annuities, with no choice or voice in the decision.
What this means is that these retirees will lose both federal pension law protections and the safety net that the federal government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. provides. Corporate pensions are protected by the PBGC, but annuity policies are not, so if an annuity issuer goes bankrupt or suffers an asset shortfall, retirees are up a creek without a paddle.
Are we all forgetting the financial meltdown of 2008, when many too-big-to-fail insurers and financial firms sought out the federal government as their financial safety net? Who in Washington is looking out for America's retirees?
Our nation's leaders need to wake up and stop corporations from pulling these pension bait-and-switches on older Americans.
Servicemen perform heroism at home too
A special thanks to Staff Sgt. Ian Wramp, of Sissonville, who stopped and helped my wife and me moments after we collided with a deer on Interstate 79.
In a time when we often think of our service members overseas, it is important to recognize their heroism at home. Sgt. Wramp's poise, bravery and warmth guided us through a traumatic experience and helped us to safety. His actions exemplify our armed forces at their best.
Good luck to Sgt. Wramp as he embarks on his fifth deployment this winter. And our best to his wife and children.
When parting, Sgt. Wramp said that he is "just here to serve," and we are forever grateful for his service.
Michael T. Miller and Kelly Pack